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Chaat chomp!

Golgappas and Papdi Chaat at a five-star hotel! Friday afternoon might have been overcast and dreary but the quick trip down Chatori Gali from Agra Shahar quite made up for it at ITC Sonar! Select guests made their way to a chaat party hosted by Sundeep Bhutoria at the Bypass star hotel where Agra’s famous Suresh Chat Wala set up shop and dished out proper UP-style chaat.

From Dahi Bhalla to Gobi Paratha and Aloo Tikki to Golgappas, the snacks not only had an Agra streetside flavour but were also “healthy and hygienic”. Adding to the sip quotient between the chatpata bites, there was Masala Chai, Watermelon and Cucumber and Basil mocktails and Calcutta’s classic Masala Thums Up.

“When Mayank Kulshreshtha (executive chef, ITC Sonar) told me that they had tied up with Suresh Chat Wala from Agra and that they were in town, I just had to host a chaat party. I love having chaat, and everything they are serving is just delicious. This is the perfect shyam ka naasta,” said Bhutoria (in picture above with chef Mayank), whose guests heartily dug in with a healthy dose of Calcutta versus Agra chaat debate as accompaniment!

“We always try to have events around the wedding and party season. This year, we decided to tie up with Suresh Chat Wala from Agra and if guests hosting a party at ITC would like to have Agra chaat on the menu, we can arrange for the chaatwallahs to come down specially,” said Mayank.

Here are the ‘chaat-toppers’ at the Indian-style high tea and, of course, some chatpata moments.

THE CHAAT-TOPPERS

ALOO TIKKI

Toasted crispy on a sizzling tawa and doused in ghee, it was served with sweet saunth ki (dry ginger) chutney and chaat masala.

Chef’s tip: For home-made aloo tikki, don’t boil the potatoes completely. Leave them half-cooked. Then mash the potatoes and mix in arrowroot (powdered starch). To ensure the tikki is equally flavourful inside out, add some masala to the potato while forming the patty. Then fry it in ghee till reddish-brown and crispy. While serving, crush the patty, add saunth ki chutney and more chaat masala.

MATRA KULCHA

UP’s hot favourite is Bengal’s ghugni with a twist. The same chana is made differently — minus the jhaal-mishti taste. Made in a giant pateela or vessel, it came with piping hot kulchas and got quite a few yummy comments from the guests!

Chef’s tip: Boil the chana on low flame and don’t let the steam out. Let the chana cook in the steam. Only add ghee and salt to it and nothing else. You will know the chana is done when it can be easily squashed into pulp. Put it all into a bowl, add chaat masala, chopped tomato, aamchur chutney and a dash of lemon juice. Mix well and serve with freshly-julienned cucumber, onion and carrot.

MATAR PARATHA SERVED WITH ALOO HING KI SABZI

Everyone who passed this counter jaw-dropped at the 3” tawa weighing 19kg on which the Matar Paratha was slow-cooked. The ITC management had to make this special tawa for the chaatwallahs as they couldn’t fly it down! Served with spicy aloo sabzi and pickle, it was a real treat.

Chef’s tip: For tasty Agra-style paratha, be it matar, paneer or gobi, make sure you have that heavyweight tawa handy. Also, unlike our Matarshutir Kochuri, where the peas are mashed with masala and then stuffed into the dough, here the peas are whole. The trick? The peas are not boiled. They are added to the dough along with chaat masala and sealed before being rolled out and toasted in ghee. The peas get cooked on the tawa but remain absolutely intact!

“I tried the Matra Kulcha and the Matar Paratha with Aloo Hing Ki Sabzi but I have to say I absolutely loved the Aloo Tikki. It is so crispy and sinfully delicious,” said actress Gargi Roychowdhury, who couldn’t resist going back for a second helping.

“I love good food and, of late, I have started enjoying vegetarian food as well. As for chaat, I love any kind. The concept of a chaat party is great and I loved the Aloo Tikki, followed by the parathas and the Golgappas, which are very different from the ones we are used to,” said filmmaker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.

“I am totally a chaat person! I liked the Aloo Tikki the most. Then again the Matra Kulcha was also nice because it was so much like our ghoogni but different at the same time,” smiled t2 food columnist and Kookie Jar’s Lovey, who washed it down with a bhanr of Masala Chai.

On the Menu:

Aloo Tikki
Pao Bhaji
Golgappa
Matra Kulcha
Dahi Bhalla
Papdi Chaat
Matar Paratha served with Aloo Hing Ki Sabzi
Paneer Paratha
Gobi Paratha
Masala Chai
Gulab Jamun